Series: Planning for 36 Hours in New Orleans, LA


Planner’s Travel Series

About the series: Welcome to our ongoing travel series. These are all posts written by planning students and professionals about what to do in a given city when looking for Brunch, a Brew, or a good idea on a Budget. To cap it all off, we include a fun planning fact!

About the visit: I lived in New Orleans for five years during my undergraduate program and absolutely fell in love with this city. I can never go back as often as I like, but recently returned for a friend’s wedding. Here are some of my favorite haunts and top recommendations:



BBQ Shrimp and Grits at Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar. Photo Credit: Nora Schwaller.

My favorite place to grab breakfast is at Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar. There are two locations on each side of Magazine Street. Expect a bit of a wait during any weekend or festival period, but don’t worry, it is worth it. I always recommend the BBQ Shrimp and Grits or the Pain Perdu. The juices, while a bit pricey, are absolutely delicious as well!



The Set-up for a show on Frenchmen Street at Snug Harbor. Photo Credit: Nora Schwaller.

As far as music goes, it’s hard to find a city better than New Orleans; and within New Orleans, it’s hard to find a street better than Frenchmen. Walk along the street to hear music pouring out of the dozens of music venue that dot the blocks any and every night of the week, month, or year. Grab a drink at any of these place and listen to some authentically world-class tunes.



The Happy Hour at the Blind Pelican Involves 25 cent Oysters – that’s only $3.00 for a Dozen! Photo Credit: Nora Schwaller.

The Happy Hour at the Blind Pelican allows you to get one dozen raw oysters on the half-shell for 25 cents a pop (or $3.00 a dozen) with every drink. Go spend a few hours having a few drinks and eating your fill, but go early – they tend to run out by the end of the night.

Fun Planning Fact 

Tombs from a Graveyard in New Orleans. Photo Credit: Nora Schwaller.

I have never been much for the formal graveyard tours, but I love walking through them on my own with a camera or sketchbook. Due to the high water table, all graveyards within the city need to be above ground. Otherwise, the caskets will simply float to the top. As a result, the town is full with walled in city blocks that look quite a bit like the one pictured above.

Featured Image: Map of the original settlement of New Orleans, from 1763, reprinted in 1886. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

About the author: Nora Schwaller is a licensed architect and a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the Department of City and Regional Planning. At UNC, she focuses on resilience and disaster recovery. In this area, she is most interested in the effect of disasters on communities, population displacement, and tipping points for settlement abandonment. Prior to returning to grad school, she worked for an architecture firm in San Francisco, focusing on municipal projects. 


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